E-Discovery 2.0 has moved to a new location. You'll be redirected to our new home in 5 seconds. Or, you can find us at http://www.clearwellsystems.com/e-discovery-blog
You do not have to re-subscribe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

“Web Services” For E-Discovery

Prior to working in e-discovery, I (Aaref) always thought standards bodies were a waste of time – or, at least, nothing more than an excuse for free travel to exotic locations. But George Socha and Tom Gelbmann’s EDRM project has changed my mind. In the second of a series of posts, our e-discovery guru – Kurt Leafstrand – explains one of many ways in which EDRM will have a big impact on e-discovery in the years to come:

Last week, I once again had the pleasure of participating in the (now biannual) EDRM conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. For those unfamiliar with it, EDRM is a fantastic collaboration between e-discovery software vendors, service providers, and consumers committed to addressing practical problems associated with e-discovery.

Looking back on both formal sessions and informal conversations with many participants, the one key theme that came across loud and clear is that the days of traditional, "throw-it-over-the-wall" (TIOTW) e-discovery are numbered.

I am sure you're familiar with the TIOTW approach, that endearing process whereby an enterprise gathers up a muddle of electronic data in all shapes and sizes, ties it up in a big bundle, rolls it in bubble wrap, and catapults it into the waiting arms of a service provider. They unwrap it, chant some incantations and perform other black magic for a few days (or it is weeks?) and throw a bundle back over the wall to their corporate client. In-house counsel takes a look and promptly realizes that the search terms she thought were sure things were completely off the mark, and that she missed a couple of custodians, and then... well, it's back over the wall again.

What’s going to tear the wall down? The EDRM XML schema, the first version of which is unveiled today by Clearwell and a large group of other vendors and customers. This will have the same impact on e-discovery as web services have had on e-commerce, enabling systems to pass data to one another over the internet, just as Travelocity passes information to American Airlines when you use it to make a reservation online.

What difference will this make? Well, I boil it down to 3 main things:

  1. Litigation risk will decline as early case assessment finally becomes a reality in the enterprise—making it feasible to process, analyze, and do first-pass review of documents in-house, and then transfer those documents and tags to service providers and outside counsel without having to start from scratch.
  2. E-discovery timeframes will shorten as enterprises become able to craft comprehensive e-discovery strategies more easily by executing and refining searches closer to the source of the data, and eliminate time-consuming back-and-forth exchanges between enterprises and service providers. And that’s a good thing, with the new FRCP (and coming soon, state rules!) pressure.
  3. E-discovery manageability will improve as enterprise-based e-discovery systems are able to integrate seamlessly with downstream litigation management systems. Previously, you were forced to either channel data into a complex external litigation management system too early -- making it difficult for internal counsel and other constituents to have access to the documents -- or pay for costly and time-consuming custom data conversions to migrate data between document "silos."

What to do with all of those unused CDs gathering dust in your office? I've heard they make great coasters…

No comments: